mikeinsc's TNA iMPACT! (Xbox 360) review

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A Very Shallow Experience

TNA has long been trying to compete with TNA, basically signing anybody who leaves the WWE, either willingly (Christian) or due to the WWE basically releasing them/burying them (Booker T) or the WWE basically telling them to leave or accept drug counseling (Angle). The matches can be high-octane affairs, but with a tendency to have a very "Seen it before" vibe if you watch more than a few weeks. The writing is amongst the dumbest on the planet, making the gibberish the WWE churns out seem like Shakespeare in comparison (for example, they turned internet fave and amazing worker Samoa Joe into a whiny as all heck face who nobody likes)

The game is an attempt to go for a more arcadey feeling wrestling title. Except, the game, which was in development for a LONG time, feels unfinished. The developers say they had most of the roster there for motion capture...but they throw out the vast majoriy of the mo-cap work and all of the guys have identical moves. Kevin Nash throws missile dropkicks identically to Chris Sabin, in spite of Nash being about 20 years older, more than a foot taller, having numerous knee surgeries, and being one of the less mobile guys in the business.

The storyline, sadly, had led to TNA actually creating a character Suicide, fully demonstrating the bankruptcy of their company's writing. Suicide is beaten up by LAX and left in Tijuana (odd, since TNA openly says that both Hernandez and Homicide reside in TX and Brooklyn respectively, not Mexico at all). He then has to fight his way to TNA, eventually facing company owner Jeff Jarrett.

The game is really fast, but the lack of moves makes the matches still seem tedious. The hyper-reliance on reversals is one of the most annoying parts of the game. The AI, however, beats it out. The AI is quite inconsistent. For example, I faced Jarrett twice. The first time, he reversed everything I did and wiped the mat with me. The next time, he reversed nothing and it was, quite possibly, the easiest match I had. The decision, also, to make the generic guys as tough as the TNA guys is baffling as it only makes the TNA guys look weak.

The developers, by all accounts, knew squat about the business of wrestling and didn't really know how to put together a coherent wrestling title. Even if you're sick of SD, TNA Impact is still not a viable option.

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